Making Makers: Designing Digital Engagement for Social Relevance and Social Good – Booth 29

Shauna McCabe, Textile Museum of Canada, Canada

In 2015, the Textile Museum of Canada (TMC) launched Making Makers (, a unique crowdsourced platform offering an adaptable, responsive model for designing digital participation that expands the social relevance of museums. This demonstration will highlight how this initiative offers a template positioning museums to build capacity to address real world settings through both its conceptualization and realization. Founded in 1975, while the Textile Museum of Canada’s collection comprises a world of handcrafted practices – archaeological to present-day – the role of the museum and this repository of the handmade in relation to 21st century maker communities had not been developed. Following on the success of the Textile Museum of Canada’s award-winning TXTilecity app ( that mapped the rich textile history of Toronto’s urban landscape, the TMC turned its attention to creating a dynamic locative tool accessible to the national maker landscape as a means of documentation, communication, and education. Crowdsourced from Canada’s evolving maker community itself, the Making Makers platform is a growing catalogue of contemporary craft resources, community sites, galleries and museums, incubators, fabricators, distributors, educational resources, and services. Taking advantage of the exceptional insight into DIY activity offered by the TMC through our core materials and mission, Making Makers reinforces the Museum’s leadership in global dialogues around creativity, craft and consumption. The initiative offers a valuable case to examine the capacity-building potential of digital technology to extend museum experiences and impact in virtual, yet tangible, ways, stimulating public sense of a shared social space through collective imagination. Activating the unique insight offered by every cultural and heritage institution, such initiatives highlight powerful opportunities for organizations to offer leadership in ways definitive to their futures.

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